Chinook shines a light on mental health and wellness
Mental health and wellness have taken center stage in schools in the Chinook School Division due to rising student anxiety.
In the Chinook School Division Directions Newsletter on September 13, the division announced that all schools will need a 2021-2022 mental health and wellness plan that is to cover four areas; individual supports, classroom supports, school / division supports and family / community supports.
“Mental health and wellness is part of the provincial plan within education to deal with pandemic and covid outcomes, as well as the learning response which are the learning gaps that may have arisen. produce over the course of the year and a half, ”said Chinook School The Superintendent of the Learning Division, Bob Vavra.
“So Chinook is making a plan to kind of see where our students are and our sanity,” he added.
Along with the plans, the division has also created a career counseling position, more counselor positions and contract occupational therapist positions available if a school requires them.
To help monitor student mental health, the division will also interview students in grades 10 to 12 in the division about their mental health and the results will be shared with counselors to help target key areas of mental health and student well-being. The surveys will be repeated in June to measure growth.
The surveys will help to see where students are with their anxiety and mental health levels and their resilience to these things.
They will also be monitoring students in grades 4 to 12 using the Our School survey.
“We’re going to look at them because mental health can be a huge barrier to learning and we want to remove those barriers early on so that the little (problems) don’t turn into big,” Vavra explained.
It’s all part of an effort that began earlier this spring to help prepare teachers and parents of students with anxiety and other mental health issues.
Since the start of the initiative, the division has provided several staff mental health and wellness activities, including a mental health PD module for all teachers, identifying at-risk students, a mental health plan and School Wellness, Mental Health First Aid: Training One Person in Each School to Help Identify and Support Mental Health, a live presentation by Kevin Cameron and Focus on Reconnection.
As of September 16, the Chinook School Division updated its back-to-school plan to include mandatory masks for staff and students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Beginning September 17, students and staff from Kindergarten to Grade 12 were required to wear masks indoors in all areas of schools. Periodic mask breaks will be offered to students and school staff. School visitors are required to wear masks indoors at all times and all students and staff are required to wear masks on school buses. For outdoor activities such as recess or outdoor gymnastics classes, there is no recommendation for students to mask themselves, and masks will not be required for extracurricular or intense physical education activities. indoors.
The move came just before the province announced a new mask mandate that began on September 17.
The division takes these recommendations from local doctors and their medical officer of health.